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How to Turn Your Life Around

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

I had a hard time beginning this blog yesterday because, frankly, I was in a bit of a slump. I blame it on the endless left brain edits I had to make after the completion of a lengthy right brain novel. Add to that a good dose of tedium generated by the anticipated marketing effort and a smattering of grief as I buried my latest characters, and you have the full catastrophe. If you’re an author, you get the picture. If not, just follow me into a tangled forest somewhere in the Deep South complete with dense underbrush and huge overhanging thickets of Spanish moss. Now look up; way up. Tied to the branch of an ancient live oak is a slender but sturdy vine.

Hanging in wait.

I’ve seen this vine too many times not to understand that the choice is mine. I can climb it in good faith, lean back and swing into a sunlit clearing, or I can loop it around my creative neck and yank. In other words, I can find a way to reinvent myself after the completion of every story, or I can choke on the lack of creative oxygen a more practical job would provide. Writing is a tough business.

But it isn’t the only one.

Almost anyone in any career, relationship, or life situation has seen that figurative vine. Do we use it to swing into: new city, new career, new pair of arms? Or do we set up camp in the forest and whine? Do we disable ourselves or enable ourselves? Finding a way out of stagnation isn’t easy, especially if we assume the victim role. We’ve all done it: “You have no idea how hard this is!” “Nobody understands my pain!” The truth is, at least initially, most people prefer the comfort of a familiar negative to the discomfort of a positive change, however promising.

Sometimes we just want to yank the vine.

But giving up is the easy route, at least short term. I know I’d be miserable in any other occupation, no matter how defeated I may feel in a given moment. One thing I understand by now is that action is an inescapable part of the solution. I can take action now, or I can marinate in misery for another day or another year. It’s up to me. But at some point I have to sit my butt down in front of the computer and type. At some point I have to begin a new book or a new job. No one else can do it for me. But where to begin?

First, climb the vine.

For me, any upward movement out of an inert situation involves mental preparation–or what I like to call — meditation. Performed properly, meditation is one of the finest mental and spiritual panaceas available. Think of it as a sorbet, a mental palette cleanser. Or for the technically minded — a cache scrubber. For the non-techs, cache is the part of your computer where old links, passwords, and search histories are stored. After a while, all it really does is slow the computer down and create automatic responses that, especially if we are trying to do something new, are distracting and largely irrelevant. Old cache consumes critical space that could better be used to process new information more quickly. Cleaning the cache is an essential component of computer hygiene.

The practice of meditation is an essential component of mental hygiene.

Meditation, even ten minutes a day, has the potential to clear old habits, emotional patterns, automatic responses, and fixed belief systems that drag us down and shackle us to the past. Meditation combined with the clear intention to begin anew, has the power to ignite possibility. Possibility creates probability. Meditation quiets — and with practice, silences — the nagging voice that taunts, ‘Why bother? You’ll never get anywhere anyway. You’re finished.’

As a writer, I know I will never create a new story by re-using the same material over and over again. Somehow I have to drag my mind out of the past and into conscious and purposeful movement that exists nowhere but ‘now’. It’s safe to say that the reinvention of anyone’s life must apply the same principles–clean the cache and start fresh. Climb the vine. Life is a constant invention or it’s nothing at all. And that’s the good news. So how do you turn your life around?

One blissful meditative moment at a time.

If you’re in a dead-end job, meditate first, then do one thing to move out of that job today. Create a balance sheet of assets and liabilities — what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose. The loss is generally short-term, so long-term benefits become obvious. If you’re in a dead relationship, get help. The same ‘ole same ‘ole is a waste of precious time. Sooner or later, action is required to make things right. Don’t wait. Do it now. Lay your old stories to rest and breathe a lungful of invigorating fresh air. All things are truly possible. Believe it.

Guided meditations can get us started, but as we gain confidence in the process, we are most productive left alone in our own ‘inner rooms’. Close your eyes, place yourself in Divine Presence, and gently release intruding thoughts, one by one. With practice, you will gain more control over negative thoughts, and more peace and clarity with which to swing into new territory.

Slumps are temporary situations and should never be misconstrued as a way of life. We are not meant to waste our days in darkness. Life is a sacrament, and we its offering. What we must leave on its altar is an intentional life of purpose, nothing less.

Begin your new life now.

Suggested links:
Guided Meditations
Practice of inner solitude

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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Kendrick Lamar To Geraldo Rivera: ‘How Can You Take A Song That’s About Hope And Turn It Into Hatred?’

Kendrick Lamar’s opening performance of his new single “Alright” at this year’s annual BET Awards sparked some debate over at Fox News last week.

During a June 29 episode of Fox News’ “The Five” co-hosts Kimberly Guilfoyle, Dana Perino, Eric Bolling, and Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera took aim at Lamar’s performance, saying that the song’s lyrics are “not helpful at all” in improving police relations in the black community.

Rivera stated:

“This is why I say that hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years. This is exactly the wrong message. And then to conflate what happened in the church in Charleston, South Carolina with the tragic incidents involving excessive use of force by cops is to equate that racist killer with these cops. It’s so wrong. It’s so counterproductive. It gives exactly the wrong message.”

Rivera’s claim that Lamar “conflates” police violence and the June 17 massacre of nine black Americans by a white gunman misrepresents “Alright,” which appears on Lamar’s sophomore album “To Pimp A Butterfly” released in March. Following Rivera’s comments, Lamar responded during an interview with TMZ Live in which he clarified the song’s message.

“How can you take a song that’s about hope and turn it into hatred?” he said. “The message, the overall message [of ’Alright’], is, ’We gon’ be alright.’ It’s not a message of ‘I want to kill people.’”

After asked by TMZ Live host, Harvey Levin if the symbol of Lamar performing on top of a vandalized cop car validates Rivera’s claim of “sending the wrong message,” Lamar said the problem has more to do with the reality of the police killings and than his BET Awards performance.

“I think his attempt is really diluting the real problem, which is the senseless acts of killings of these young boys out here. And I think for the most part, it’s avoiding the truth,” the Grammy Award-winner said. “This is reality. This is my world. This is what I talk about in my music. You can’t dilute that.”

kendrick lamar reality
Lamar went on to explain how he hopes to influence change among young people through his music.

“Hip-hop is not the problem. Our reality is the problem of the situation…This is our music. This is us expressing ourselves. Rather [than] going out here and doing the murders myself, I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, go in the booth and talking about the situation and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it in a positive manner.”

Check out more of Kendrick Lamar’s interview in the clip above, and his BET Award performance below.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



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Carter’s Girls 3 Piece ‘Love You’ Set with 2 Bodysuits and Polka Dot Pants with Seahorse Turn Me Around Applique

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TQFC Book 4: Turn & Dribble

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Carter’s Boys 3 Piece ‘Daddy’s Big Guy’ Set with 2 Bodysuits and Stripe Pant with Whale Turn Me Around Applique- Preemie

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Your baby boy will be so cute and so comfy in this adorable preemie size turn-me-around set by Carter’s. Set includes 2 short sleeve bodysuits, one featuring Daddy’s Big Guy screen print slogan and a second with cute whale applique embroidery. Also features fun pant with turn-me-around whale applique on the bottom. 100% Cotton. Imported. Carter’s is the leading brand of children’s clothing in the United States today. Based on the belief that childhood is a celebration, Carter’s brands are all about creating products for children that are distinguished by quality and creative art and color. They are proud to provide trusted products and services. Making solutions for real life and keeping life simple for customers is what really matters. Carter’s is known to provide trusted products that are super comfy, easy care, adorable and don’t break the bank.

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T10 Plug 9 SMD Electronic Component Car Turn light / License Plate Light Bulbs Yellow

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Carter’s Boys Navy Yarn Dye Stripe Button Up Creeper with Crab Turn Me Around Applique

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Clippers turn back Spurs, boost lead in West

DeAndre Jordan had 26 points and 18 rebounds, Jamal Crawford added 26 points and the Clippers beat San Antonio 119-115 Thursday night, increasing their lead over the Spurs by 1 1/2 games in the West.
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Cheryl Strayed: Turn Fear into Your Companion | Help Desk | Oprah Winfrey Network

Tune in Sundays at noon ET/PT.

Best-selling author Cheryl Strayed (‘Wild,’ Tiny Beautiful Things,’ ‘Torch’) gives advice on how to embrace the fear that has been holding you back from living fully.

SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/1vqD1PN

About OWN:
Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel.

Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities.

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Lena Dunham Wants To Turn ‘Catherine, Called Birdy’ Into A Movie

Lena Dunham discussed a wide array of topics with writer and author Ariel Levy during the 15th annual New Yorker Festival on Friday night, including her aspirations to turn Karen Cushman’s “Catherine, Called Birdy” into a feature film.

“This is actually my first time talking about it publicly,” Dunham said about the project. “I’m very excited about it. I’m not sure when it’ll happen, but I’m in the process of [working on it].”

Written by Cushman, the 1994 novel — which won the Newbury Prize in 1995 — tells the story of Catherine, a 12-year-old coming of age in 1290 England. “[She] gets her period and her father basically says, ‘Well, it’s time for you to get married,’ and she’s like, ‘Uh, no,'” Dunham told the crowd. “But it’s hyper realistic and really pretty and it’s full of incest and beatings, but it’s a child’s story. I’ve been obsessed with it since I was a kid.” Dunham previously cited “Catherine, Called Birdy” as one of the two best books she’s ever read about young girls in an interview with the New York Times in 2012. (Her other selection was Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita.”)

“It’s a really interesting examination of sort of like coming of age and what’s expected of teenage girls,” Dunham said. “I’m going to adapt it and hopefully direct it, I just need to find someone who wants to fund a PG-13 medieval movie.”

Dunham plans to produce the film through A Casual Romance, the production company she started with “Girls” executive producer Jenni Konner. According the 28-year-old, “Catherine, Called Birdy” is one of many projects the duo are working on at the moment “that sort of aren’t set in the here and now.”

“Nothing I’ve done so far has required any research of any real kind beyond, like, going to a diner,” Dunham said, acknowledging how “Catherine, Called Birdy” is not necessarily what some fans have come to expect from her as a writer-director. “So this is a whole other world. But the source material makes me so happy and I’m so excited, because I’ve been working on ‘Girls’ [for five years] and I also wrote this book of personal essays. So the idea of engaging with some of these topics that are important to me, which are — surprise — women and feminism, but finding a way to kind of look at them through a historical lens is sort of like where feel myself going.”

Dunham, who is currently promoting her new book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” said she’ll connect with Cushman to discuss “Catherine, Called Birdy” during a visit to Seattle next weekend.
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Ebola Patient in Dallas Hospital Takes Turn for Worse: CDC

Meanwhile, Texas health officials search for homeless man who may have been exposed to virus
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Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing: When the Actions of a Christian Turn Criminal

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The “I Hate to Exercise” Book for People With Diabetes: Turn Everyday Home Activities into a Low-impact Fitness Plan You’ll Love

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7 Ways Stress Ruins Your Life and 5 Steps That Start to Turn It Around

We think our problems produce the stress we experience, but it’s actually the reverse. Stress causes most of our troubles — from money, family, and work problems, to physical and mental health issues. In working with private and corporate clients, I’ve found that most people realize that stress is harmful, but few understand it as causal… at least until I review the following research findings with them:

Stress and money: When our mind is preoccupied with fears of financial scarcity, it activates stress reactions, releasing stress hormones that dampen the brain’s executive functions. This leads to a decline in fluid intelligence, which is the “smarts” the higher brain generates to solve money problems. [1]

Stress and bad decisions: The greater the stress, the greater the likelihood you’ll make bad decisions at home and at work. Knee-jerk reactions can cause you to make risky or premature decisions. You’ll drop long-range goals for immediate survival needs, and every day you’ll wonder why you keep falling behind instead of getting ahead. [2]

Stress and declining performance: Stress hormones shrink higher brain networks and break the connections between them. This inhibits you from maximizing your full measure of talent and sustaining peak performance. [3] You’ll have a good day now and then, but your brain won’t be able to generate your best day every day.

Stress and dampened creativity: Your capacity for creative insight and innovation is thwarted by stress. [4] Those sudden “aha” moments of insight, inspiration, and comprehension will be few and far between.

Stress and emotional negativity: Stress locks you into fight, flight, or freeze reactions. Your emotional set point switches to negative, predisposing you to anxiety, anger, aggression, paranoia, and depression. [5]

Stress and family: The greater the stress, the more reactive you’ll be to the normal ups and downs at home. You and your partner will argue, criticize, blame, and withhold affection, not realizing that stress is distorting how you see the relationship. Stress hormones also lower sex drive, adding to the estrangement. [6]

Stress and health: Chronic stress impairs the immune system. It wreaks havoc on the cardiovascular system. It damages chromosomes prematurely aging your body and causing the production of cancer. It kills brain cells, and if left unchecked, can eventually kill you. [7] If you add up all the deaths from stress-related illnesses, you have our No. 1 killer.

Obviously, if you want a healthy, happy and successful life, ending stress belongs at the top of your to-do list. Yet 83 percent of us are doing nothing about it. [8] Too often, the wake-up call comes on the gurney in the emergency room. Make no mistake, stress is life-threatening serious. “It is not something that maybe someday you should do something about,” says Carol Shively of Stanford. “You need to attend to it today.” [9]

There is a solution

If you have a problem with stress, it’s because genetics and hard knocks have wired you for a hyperactive stress response system. There is a solution to stress that is based on the capacity of the human brain to: a) rewire primitive neural circuits that habituate stress reactions, and b) stimulate the growth of higher brain networks that enable you to succeed fully. The process of rewiring, called neuroplasticity, is surprisingly simple. It’s achieved through a specific shift in mindset. Norman Doige of Columbia University calls neuroplasticity “the single most important change in our understanding of the human brain in 400 years.” [10]

Neuroplasticity works in real life situations, where stress abounds. It’s been studied in high pressure corporations and found to achieve impressive results in increasing morale and productivity in previously unproductive groups. [11] In an independent evaluation of a training my firm conducted at Wells Fargo, more than 300 managers making a similar shift experienced a significant improvement in their level of stress, job performance, creativity, and personal relationships… all in three weeks. [12] Who doesn’t want those outcomes? It starts with making stress a priority.

5 steps that start to turn it around

If you’re one of the 83 percent who are procrastinating, here are five simple neuroplastic steps that can get your mindset moving in the right direction:

1: Bust Stressful-Provoking Thoughts: Be aware all day of stress-provoking thoughts as they occur. Tell yourself: These thoughts are in me, not in reality. Then refuse to believe the stressful thought and see what happens to your experience. An anxious thought not believed doesn’t turn into stress.

2: Stop Worrying (The Clear Button): Imagine there is a button at the center of your palm that, when pushed, signals the brain to stop worrying. Keep pressing the button while you slowly count to three, thinking of each number as a color. As you exhale on the final breath, let your mind go completely and relax into the present moment. Repeat the process until your worries are gone.

3: Start Each Day in Quiet: Set aside five minutes first thing each morning to frame a positive mindset. Feel appreciation for the gift of another day of life. Set your intention to have a rewarding day. Commit yourself to being at peace on the inside, regardless of what happens on the outside.

4: Take Regular Breaks: A 15-20 minute break every two hours allows your brain to rebound. So, every two hours step away from your work and go outside or to a window. Watch the clouds pass, the wind blow, or the sun shine, allowing your mind to grow quiet and to connect with life.

5: Count Your Blessings: Once a week, at bedtime, recall three things that happened during the previous week for which you are grateful. Then acknowledge three things in your life for which you feel blessed.

For a print-out of the five steps plus one more, go to http://tinyurl.com/end-of-stress-six-steps

References:

[1] Sendhil Mullainathan, Ph.D. and Eldar Shafir, Ph.D., Freeing Up Intelligence, Scientific American Mind, January/February 2014, p.58-61

[2] Wesley E. Sime, MPH, PhD, Stress Management: A Review of Principles, an online series of lectures on stress management, Lecture 1, University of Nebraska, Dept. of Health and Human Performance

[3] Eduardo Dias-Ferreira et al., “Chronic Stress Causes Frontostriatal Reorganization and Affects Decision-Making,” Science 325, no. 5940 (31 July 2009): 621-25.

[4] Amabile TM, Hadley CN, Kramer SJ , Creativity under the Gun, Harvard Business Review, 2002, 80(8):52-61, 147

[5] S. T. Charles, J. R. Piazza, J. Mogle, M. J. Sliwinski, D. M. Almeida. The Wear and Tear of Daily Stressors on Mental Health. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612462222

[6] L. A. Neff and B. R. Karney, “Stress and reactivity to daily relationship experiences: How stress hinders adaptive processes in marriage,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97 (2009): 435-50.

[7] Robert M. Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping, 2nd rev. ed. (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1998), 144-153.

[8] American Psychological Association, “Stress in America, Missing the Health Care Connection,” February 7, 2013, pg. 5

[9] Killer Stress, A National Geographic Special, PBS, 2008, produced by Stanford University and Nation Geographic

[10] Nancy Churnin, Brain has ability to adapt and change through life, March 22, 2010, The Dallas Morning News

[11] R. J. Davidson, J. Kabat-Zinn, et al., “Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation,” Psychosomatic Medicine 65 (2003): 564

[12] Don Joseph Goewey, The Solution to Stress that Not Only Works in the Lab; It Works in High Pressure Corporations, April 6, 2013, http://donjosephgoewey.com/the-stress-solution-works-high-pressure-places/
GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Twist, Turn & Tie 50 Japanese Kumihimo Braids: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Braids for Beautiful Cord Jewelry

Twist, Turn & Tie 50 Japanese Kumihimo Braids: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Braids for Beautiful Cord Jewelry


The traditional Japanese art of cord braiding–known as kumihimo– has been around for centuries. The technique, which uses a loom and several strands of silk thread, was once used to create the strong, slender cords that reinforced samurai warrior armor. Today, it is primarily used to make beautiful, color-drenched cords for jewelry and other decorative items. In “Twist, Turn, & Tie 50 Japanese Kumihimo Braids,” readers will get everything they need to get started in this ancient craft, including a mini braiding loom They’ll also find: An overview of tools and materials from looms to bobbins to glues to beads Step-by-step instructions for basic loom braiding, handling threads, beads, and more 50 gorgeous projects from simple beginner braids to complex beaded cords 400 full-color photographs for inspirations and instruction With details on kumihimo terminology, starting and finishing braids, and calculating thread and bead counts, this book is an ideal guide for new braiders.

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